The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 forced much of the USCIS agency staff to work remotely and those who remained at facilities had to undergo extensive social distancing and safety measures, which significantly slowed the processing of applications.
This led to massive processing backlogs and delays, including those at USCIS acceptance centers, called lockboxes. Immigration cases filed between mid-2020 and the end of the year at USCIS lockboxes experienced delays of up to four months or more in receiving receipts and in many cases, rejections, due to expired checks and payments.
As a result, thousands upon thousands of applications filed during 2020 were rejected and sent back to applicants along with a notice that a $30 insufficient funds payment was due for the expired payment checks or money orders.
New Biden agency officials recognize the problem and are in the process of taking measures to speed up processing and rectify the application rejection issues.
On June 10th, 2021, the USCIS announced that for the next 60 days from June 10 until Aug. 9, 2021, applicants and petitioners who filed cases between October 1, 2020, and April 1, 2021, that were rejected during that timeframe solely due to a filing fee payment that expired while the benefit request was awaiting processing, may resubmit the request with a new fee payment.
As long as the USCIS agrees that the application was rejected due to USCIS delays, the new application will be deemed to have been received on the initial filing date it was first received and waive the $30 dishonored check fee. Resubmissions should include the USCIS rejection documentation which was included in the returned package.
You can read the USCIS Announces Lockbox Filing Flexibilities update by visiting our website at www.americanimmigrationcentral.com and clicking on the e-newsletter.